Frequently Asked Questions

Therianthropy is a modern term for what was once thought to be a mental disturbance (in the case of lycanthropy), but is actually a deep spiritual connection to a specific type of shamanism that is prevalent throughout most ancient cultures.  Specifically, it connects humans with the raw, primal magick utilizing the energy of animals as totems and spirit guides.  Each Therian has accepted and embraced one or more animal totems as spiritual signatures that are permanently affixed to their spirit and reflect themselves in their magickal practices.  Therianthropes are described as being born with an animalistic spirit, one that has or currently does walk the Earth.  This can range from prehistoric to current evolutions of all species known to man.  Dinosaurs, fish, mammals, reptiles, birds, etc.  These can be predatory, prey, or even omnivorous animals.  The type of animal often is not determined by the Therian themselves, but rather it reflects one’s inner nature and personality.  Are you shy?  You might be an animal that doesn’t trust humans or larger predatory animals.  Perhaps you are a prey animal, but one that can also be graceful and beautiful even though it is delicate.  Are you a predatory animal but unsure why?  Perhaps you aren’t very outgoing or willing to harm others?  Perhaps you are a predatory animal for its protective qualities and its inner strength.  There are many aspects to Therianthropy.  There are lessons to be learned from every animal on this Earth.

Therians connect with nature and their inner animal to empower themselves for different purposes such as personal growth, shadow work, and harmony within their lives.  Furries dress up and play the part of an animal at conventions, during role play, and occasionally for sexual encounters as well.  Therians should not disrespect our totems with anthropomorphic reimaginings.  We practice respectful spiritual customs and attune to nature’s rhythm.  Furries play at being an animal, whereas Therians put themselves in the pawprints of their animal and ask what it would do in their situations, when conventional human responses would complicate those situations.  We support conservation efforts of wildlife and natural resources because we know that protecting these vital elements is important. 

No, not really.  We don’t have cool cars, big mansions, underground dens, or lots of money.  We don’t get supernatural powers, and we’re not able to transform into big intimidating creatures.  We do, however, get what we work for.  We get what we earn.  If you’ve earned a huge mansion and lots of money, good for you!  Share it with your pack!  If you have had great success in your line of employment, offer to train your packmates to make more income.  If you have a skill, offer to teach it.  If you are able to have an underground den, use it to protect your pack in emergencies.  There are no “fated/rejected mates,” or other ridiculous notions such as that.  Those are book tropes and not reality.  Entertainment purposes only, and they are not meant to be seen as actual cultural references.

The traditions that melded together to create Therianthropy actually came from all over the world, much like neo-paganism.  All ancient cultures had aspects of animal/creature worship, and we still learn from them today.  This is because when humans were still new, we were trying to figure out how we fit into the great cycle of life.  Were we predator or prey?  We couldn’t survive without fur in the Winter, so what did we do?  We needed the basics of survival (shelter, water, food, heat, etc.) but how did we get it?  How did we find and learn to work with other early humans?  How did we nurture our young?  These were all questions we had.  When we needed answers, we looked at other animals in the wild and kind of became our own mix of them.  We didn’t have fur, so we learned to use what we had for clothing.  We saw bugs doing the same with exoskeletons of other beings as well as leaves.  We saw smaller animals nesting in the hides of dead animals, and many species also made dens.  We saw wolves working in networks called packs that would hunt with each other and share the spoils with those that needed it first, then the rest of the pack.  This is how we learned to form ranks and social structures as well as how to care for our young.  This wisdom collected by prehistoric early humans became the stories and knowledge we passed on to our children, told by our elders and our chieftains.  This wisdom (the traditions, practices, methods and beliefs) became the lifeblood of our people, told as stories and handed down to each new generation.  Stories and practices became our culture and magick, and eventually magick became myth and legend, and only some of us maintained our connections to the primal nature of our ancient peoples.  Therians seem to have the raw potential to tap into it, much like hereditary pagans, except instead of just connecting to our own ancestors, we also connect to the spirits of animals and their wisdom.

Therians are often pagans (though occasionally of different faiths) who have more of an affinity for animal totem magick than most.  It’s their signature mark, usually fixating on one animal.  90% of the time, if someone fixates on two or more animals, those are just guides and not part of the spirit itself.  Therians with more than one species are possible, but rare, and finding a balance between three or more beings (the first always being your human self) is often difficult and tumultuous.  Therians have a NEED to be out in nature, are often affected by weather and seasons, and also enjoy more natural diets.  Anything that could connect them to their animal nature.  They also bond with animals easier than most people.  They may be territorial (often the case with males) or very nurturing (common with females) at their whim.  They are primal in mentality, reaction, and even sexuality. 

Yes!  There are many!  So many young Therians are let down by the fact that we cannot physically change into wolves.  Believe it or not, that is still something to this day that must be debunked in our community! However, we do have some interesting physical effects that come directly from emotional and mental stimuli.  Our body temperature can rise, our skintone can become red or pale, our eyes can change color and pupils can dilate, our bodies can shake or become very still, our voices can change, our senses can sharpen, and even our hair can stand on end, and all these things can be affected by what we feel and think!  Perhaps you’ve heard of scientists and even psychologists who state that our brain controls our reality?  Our brains can send out chemical and electrical signals to our bodies, and even things outside of our bodies!  Our brains are super computers that can cause change and reactions based on our mental state.  When we feel love, our bodies relax or can even be excited.  When we are depressed, our vibrations are low or irregular and can cause havoc on our immune system which causes us to eat up our vitamin and nutrient reserves and thus makes us sick.  Everything we do or experience is controlled by our thoughts and even our involuntary impulses.  If we believe we are a wolf, we will start thinking like a wolf.  We will start reacting like a wolf, within reason.  To this day, if my eyes see something in my peripheral vision that is moving like a prey animal would, I react quickly and stay very still.  It’s something I experience because my inner wolf longs to hunt.  It’s the pride of bringing home something you provided to help feed your family.  It’s a strong drive with many wolf Therians.  Physical effects from this drive, this shift in mentality, can be that my senses heighten to prepare for that fight or flight set of actions that our ancestors used to have.  Muscle memory is a powerful thing, and since they were hunters as well, it is stored deep in our DNA.

Not exactly!  We do notice a lot of physical effects that can change our bodies during the full moon, such as arousal, elevated serotonin and adrenaline levels, etc., all of which are caused by mental stimuli.  These can give us goosebumps or make our hair stand on end, or even make our pupils dilate when we focus on the object of our desire (such as our significant other, the Moon, a juicy steak, a wild rabbit hopping in the early moonlight, etc.), and these seemingly strange occurrences are actually backed by science!  We do not change shape, but we do change.  On a primal subconscious level, everyone is affected by the moon.

Is it all about rank and howling, or is there more?  Pack life, from the experiences that Everwood has blessed me with, has proven to be a mix of hard work, dedication, lots of cooking!  Movie nights, sleepovers, celebrations, support, love, and so much more.  I’m not sure what other packs are like, because for me it’s only been Everwood.  However, I like to say that Everwood is the ultimate pack experience.  We have dinners together, welcome our new cubs into the world, goof off and joke together, go on camping trips, attend events together, and plan our future together.  As far as families go, the ones you create yourself or choose to join are often the ones you bond with the most, because there is no blood or guilt or generational curses that keep you trauma bound to people who should have your back, but often do not.  Everwood is a family, but more than most.  We want to see our packmates grow and succeed because that is the spirit of the Wolf; to adapt and overcome.  Yes, there are ranks.  The ranks are upheld by those who are in positions to be the most responsible and capable, and for good reason.  Being an alpha, a beta, delta, etc., it’s not about privilege, but rather service.  I will admit though, it is a privilege to serve my pack however I can.  It’s an honor to be trusted and looked up to, but also to be able to help those who need it.  It makes me feel blessed.  Pack life itself is in fact a blessing.

The short answer is no, and the long answer is maybe.  No, packs aren’t necessary to Therianthropy, just as packs aren’t necessary to survive.  However, for animals that do run in packs rather than being alone, perhaps it’s just their preference, but that can feel necessary to their style of practice, just as some Pagans are solitary, and some often need the community of a coven to feel at peace with their practice.  Collective energy can be a very powerful thing, and can magnify one’s own energy and provide a safe space to practice an otherwise taboo or often ridiculed type of magick.  Packs are supposed to serve as a coven, school, and family.  They should provide a comfortable place to learn and grow, to practice wolf magick, and to bond with your fellow packmates in a family-like atmosphere.  I’ve noticed that many wolf therians who seek out a pack have been rejected by their own families for being the “black sheep” (which is ridiculous, because we are not sheep.  We simply think for ourselves and prefer to break generational curses.)

 Everwood only accepts wolf therians or wolf-spirited people at this time because that is what we know, that is what we can teach, and that is what has helped us bond.  The Wolf within is what brought us together and we maintain that respect for our shared totem.  We ally with all kinds of packs and tribes, but we personally prefer the company of wolves.

Technically, no pack can claim territory they do not own in title or deed.  Also, we cannot morally or spiritually claim a place on Earth, as we are borrowing it from our children and inheriting it from our ancestors.  We are temporary beings on this plane of existence.  We do, however, leave our mark in many ways on a few places that are sacred to us.  We clean up and frequently visit our sacred places, ensuring that they are in good condition and safe for us and our children to explore.  We are tenders of the Earth, not a gang that tries to enforce that no one else may enjoy our sacred places, nor do we alter them with graffiti or other eye sores.  We also accept that from time to time there are other packs in our local metropolitan area.  We make peace with them and share territory and responsibilities.  For example, if you find yourself in close proximity to another pack, one of your groups can clean up a certain park and the other group can keep another park clean.  It is in balancing and sharing responsibilities that we become like wolves, not by creating pointless and immature turf wars.

Though a recent study of wild wolves has found that wolves which were once called “alphas” are actually breeding pairs, and the rest of the pack is most likely their children, brothers or sisters, etc., we still use the ranking structure that was common to our community to maintain consistency and tradition. We as human beings will never be exactly like wild wolves, and to be honest the ranking structure was part of the appeal of our way of life some years ago. Those within the ranks knew what was expected of them, what their responsibilities would be, and they were proud to earn the titles because not only did they represent responsibility and duty, but they represented honor as well. “Alpha” is synonymous with “chief”, “chieftain”, or perhaps the high priest(ess) of a coven. It is just our terminology that is different. Some groups like to say that there can be many alphas in a pack/tribe/etc., and they believe it is synonymous with “elder” as in the vampire community, but in truth those are completely different traditions, and earning those positions are done differently. New York’s Gotham Halo is the only community to knowledge that has those customs. All other packs have, at most, two Alphas (one male, one female) who are equal partners. They could be mates, but can also be brother and sister, parent and child, etc. Co-alphas are partners, but not always consorts. That is the one difference between therian Alphas and wild ones; wild wolves partner when it is time to mate, and human Alphas partner when work needs to be done and they are the only ones who can accomplish it. So why do we maintain one male and one female when they don’t have to be mates? To give each gender a representative and maintain equality. If, in a pack setting, a parent has no mate or partner but has raised their now-adult offspring to be a leader worthy of the position, they can enact their pack’s traditions and customs to have their offspring become their counterpart and represent the packmates of the opposite gender. The point is, humans can recognize partnerships that do not require mating. In the wild, mating is more important to preserve the species. All animals do it. The term “Alpha” isn’t a taboo; it’s a tradition and a service that should be preserved, and we as adults can accept that we do not, and will never, perfectly mirror wild wolves. Every pack is free to do as their consciences dictate, and none is above or below the other simply because of how they view their ranks. What matters more than what you call your leaders, is how those leaders act and how they treat their packmates. If your leaders call themselves “Alpha” or “Lupa”, or what have you, and still do not humble themselves to serve their pack as necessary, they are no true leaders. To be honest, I’d be more worried about wolves who try to call themselves “King” or “Queen” before I’d worry about the term “Alpha.”

We decided that the message of that name wasn’t what we wanted to project, and it just didn’t feel right.  We discussed, over a few meetings, what we should do, and agreed that we wouldn’t be doing the Legacy of Everwood justice if we didn’t resurrect it.  The standards that we uphold, our goals, the history we all share, and the family we have built, all reflect Everwood’s values.  It was my creation, and my right to facilitate its return.  The Howling Garrison’s name will either be retired or repurposed.  We are still deciding on that.  However, our pack has been rebranded as the once and future Everwood Pack.